Traveling inis never easy because the place is big and it can take you forever to explore. I have been to the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Silk Road, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and a few more places, all well planned by a tour company during my first visit in year 2003. Since I’m traveling with my boyfriend this time, we’ve decided to skip all conventional spots to discover new places.
One of the places that attracted me was Hou Hai. Thanks to the friendly taxi driver who suggested that we walk from Qian Hai to Hou Hai so that we could do some sightseeing. Apparently Qian Hai is the front part of the lake and Hou Hai is the end of the lake, and they are connected by restaurants, pubs and cafes in between.
Here are some of my photos from Qian Hai to Hou Hai and lastly the place I have been longing to visit, the Hutong.
The entrance of Qian Hai.
Hey, Chinese Starbucks! This is the second Starbucks I saw after the one inDa Jie.
You can find restaurants serving international cuisine on the front part of Qian Hai.
We made a stop for lunch..
..facing a scenic lake.
This restaurant serves everything BUT Chinese food. I ordered a Japanese Unagi bento. Menu prices ranging from 50 to 100 yuan for an ala carte.
..while Mr. Boyfriend had a Spaghetti Bolognese.
We continued walking to find this artist surrounded by many people. His work was as good as printing.
Some souvenir shops along on the middle span.
If I had to translate ‘Jiu Ba Jie’ to English, it would be ‘Pub Street’ where many pubs and cafes are located along the street for your convenience of pub-hopping. The locals call it Jiu Ba Jie.
If I’m allowed to, I would suggest some bicycles for rent in Qian Hai, Hou Hai and Hutong. I felt calm and relaxed.
Try them, the rickshaws. It’s better than the ones I rode back in 2003.
I regret for not buying the traditional paper cuttings, a simple one will be perfect as a wall decoration. I thought I could find it elsewhere but too bad, no.
This looks familiar.. is this the Hutong? Yes!
About Hutong: I’ve always thought Hutong is a specific place but I was wrong. Hutongs are basically narrow alleys that are surrounded by old houses and they are everywhere in. To my surprise, Hutong was just a stone throw away from Qian Hai and Hou Hai. We didn’t even need a cab or a rickshaw to come here and the best thing was the place has been revamped into various shops and restaurants (with free wifi), well done!
And I get to do funny things without having to worry somebody would recognize me.. Like the mask? Price before bargain: 40 yuan, last price: 20yuan.
More Restaurants in Hutong, you’ll never get starved in Beijing.
A welcome sign outside a café in Hutong >_<
I hope you enjoy the photos; I’m Patricia Ooi from Malaysia and this place is definitely worth your time.